April 18, 2014
Researchers in Finland have zeroed in on fungi as key for extracting gold from e-scrap. After crushing devices, researchers apply a "mycelium-based" biomass to naturally absorb and attract up to 80 percent of available gold — far better than current chemical-based processes, which typically recover 10 to 20 percent of gold.
Google's big idea for the cellphone of the future — a device with readily interchangeable and upgradable parts – got off to a bit of a hiccup this week when a prototype phone ended up with a crack in its screen. A representative told attendees at the Project Ara Developer's Conference replaceable screens were back in Germany, but the phone is on track for a 2015 release and could drive significant reuse through its easily replaceable parts.
Personal computer shipments during the first quarter of 2014 were down 4.4 percent year-over-year, slightly better than a projected fall of 5.3 percent. The International Data Corporation says replacements for the recently phased-out Windows XP operating system helped give "a passing boost" to shipments.
In an opinon piece published on Wired's site, iFixit founder Kyle Wiens explains why e-scrap "dumping grounds" in Agbogbloshie, Ghana are in many ways fertile lands for innovation and training. Counteracting the traditional view of the largely unregulated e-scrap ending spot, Wiens suggests there is a highly developed assembly line system at play, reliant on skilled workers primed for more technical training and support.
While overall landfilling of material has been going down in the Vancouver, British Columbia area, waste authorities say e-scrap volumes still haven't let up. According to a new report released by Metro Vancouver, a regional authority and district, e-scrap accounted for 35 percent of inspection violations in 2013, up from 20 percent in 2010.